First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Monday, May 20, 2019
Live and Share God's Love

From the Pastor

Jayneann McIntosh




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From Pastor Jayneann's Pen

When I got into ministry, I hoped to encourage people by my own example to practice sabbath, self-care, and wholeness. We need these things – badly! My passion for them has grown in the last 20 years not only as I've recognized my own need but as I realized how few people actually make time for rest.

That said, I'm exhausted. In the days after Easter most pastors are. During Holy Week, I’d looked forward to a walk in a park on Easter Monday, but just driving to Eau Claire Dells wore me out. So instead I sat on a rock in the rain for an hour watching the rocks and the water, then drove home. Tuesday after washing dishes from the night before, I had to rest 5 minutes before starting breakfast. (I could talk here about Hashimoto's and Asperger's, and the added need for rest that comes with these but we each have our own stuff, so I won’t.)

My ministry call includes revealing my full humanity as I serve. Besides the obvious ones you already know about – like justice and compassion for all God’s creation – this includes speaking out: for full inclusion and acceptance of people who are often overlooked (like those on the Autism Spectrum or with ADHD or similar other-nesses); and about everyone’s need for rest. I use these issues, which are personal for me, as a starting point to talk about all of us.

Pastors tend to be overachievers who do too much, putting in too many hours and taking work from the laity. I recall 3 years ago when Gary (in my last appointment) returned from a Staff Parish Relations training event and said pastors are to get 2 days off each week – one as sabbath, one to do errands and laundry. I almost cried in relief! (Still, I don’t recall the last time I had two full days.)
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In December, as my son Jared was preparing for finals, he texted me a pic to explain his state. I felt for him. (In addition finishing at UWGB – with a triple major – he and his wife Tiny recently expanded the small business they own and run.) This year I’ve felt like I could insert a different “J” name to reflect where I am. Maybe you see yourself in it as well.

What can we do differently?

I don’t have any answers. Right now, I’m the example of how not to do self -care. I take off my Fridays yet work too many hours for my health. Maybe you do, too? We all need rest. We all need relief. When we put it off, the stress will come out, in our language, our health, our eating or drinking…

What would help you? Could we commit to honest sharing? When I ask, tell me how you really are instead of the “Fine” that society seems to prefer. How is your sleep? What’s worrying you? I won’t be able to fix any of it any more than I’m fixing my own life at present, but I’ll listen and practice compassion. And at least sometimes, when one of you ask me, I’ll answer with the same kind of honesty.